Increased demand from a booming construction industry in post war Sri Lanka has resulted in a severe cement shortage in the country.
Projects are in danger of slowing down as private sector and the Sri Lankan government struggle to fill cement shortages in the country’s industry.
Last month the government ordered imports to offset the shortage but the cement is yet to be released into the market after the Sri Lanka Standards Institution (SLSI) pronounced them to be of inferior quality. This sparked off a tense standoff between the Cooperatives and Internal Trade Ministry that imported the cement and the SLSI, which insisted testing should be done before the stocks are released to the market.
Cooperatives and Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernando was seen publicly criticizing the SLSI for not releasing the cement and has called on the Science and Technology Minister, under whose authority the SLSI operates, to take disciplinary action against the officials that have prevented the cement from being released onto the market.
Lucky Cement,a Pakistan company, has brought 14,000 bags into the country but cannot release it into the market until samples are checked. However they have received certification from a laboratory in London and the SLSI has agreed to conduct spot checks on any future shipments. Nonetheless it would be at least a week more before the supplies are released.